On Saturday 7:00 our alarm-clock went off for the last time in Tokyo. After a shower and packing the last items in our suitcases we check-out from the hotel at 8:00. We got the usual breakfast at Shinagawa Station before we boarded the Narita Express towards Terminal 1 of Narita Airport. Here we dropped the LTE Modem in a mailbox and we went with the free hotspots at the airport.
After dropping of our luggage we went through customs to leave our tax-free shopping tickets in Japan before we went to the gate where the A380-800 from AirFrance was already waiting. The flight time was changed to 10 minutes early but unfortunately we still left on the original planned.
The flight went very well we have seen some movies had plenty to eat and drink and a very pleasant flight crew. But due to strong headwind we arrived at the gate in Paris 20 minutes later as planned. Normally we would have had 1:15 minutes to get from the long haul flight to our next flight which is time enough but due to delay and the early boarding time of the next flight we had only 30 minutes left. This might sound more relaxing as it is but in between leaving the first plane and boarding the second plane we had to do customs, security check, walk/run about 2 km and take a bus ride from 15-20 minutes.
So we decided to go for it and started running as soon as we left the plane, we passed a lot of people (there were 516 passengers on the plane and we were sitting in the back), we came to the security check very fast but it took 10 minutes for the first passenger to get his suitcases scanned. Finally we came through and started running to the next hurdle the elevator and afterwards the bus. It took the bus 5 minutes to arrive and then it drove to Terminal 2G for about 15 minutes.
At 2G we needed to get our passport checked which went pretty smooth and at that moment I heard our names being mentioned in the same sentence as last boarding call…I decided to grab one of our 2 carry-ons and started sprinting the last 500 meters to our gate! Yes I made it on time but Danielle wasn’t there so I left my carry-on and I went back for Danielle since the stewardesses told me they would leave the gate open. Sweating and exhausted we both made it on time and the plane left 18:20.
At 17:45 we landed at Nürnberg Airport , at 17:50 we had our suitcases and at 17:55 we drove out the parking garage on our way home where we arrived at 20:15, about 15 hours and 20 minutes after we took-off in Tokyo.
We still can remember the first day of this vacation like yesterday but today was already the last full day. We had so many amazing experiences that we can’t even tell which single one of them was the best one. Even today we had new experiences and we have so many things left today…
Today would be full of sunshine and we started today at 9:00 with leaving the hotel for a breakfast at the Starbucks inside Shinagawa Station, this is a very crowded one since a lot of people pass through the station on their way to work or while transferring from local transportation to the Shinkansen and vice versa. Danielle found us a place overlooking the hallway so we could watch the people from above.
After finishing our breakfast we left to the metro area to board the Yamanote line towards Ueno Station. Here we exited to get to the Ueno Zoo. The Ueno Zoo is the oldest one in Japan and was first opened in 1882. The reason why we went there was besides the Elephants their most special two Giant Panda’s called Shin Shin and Ri Ri. And where everywhere else the Japanese line up this isn’t happening in the zoo, one giant group of Japanese trying to be on the first line to take a picture, luckily for us we have our length as an advantage and we were able to get some nice pictures.
When we left the zoo we went to for lunch in the area around the Ueno Station, we found a nice sushi place where we got a place on the bar and could see how our sushi was prepared by the chef.
Having finished our latest sushi from this vacation we started looking for a Baskin-Robbins to get ice-cream. Unfortunately the one close by was not opened because it was about to be relocated in a brand new mall. And at that moment we decided to first take the metro towards Akihabara and get ice-cream there. Within less than 30 minutes we were picking our scoops at the Akihabara Baskin-Robbins before we checked out Akihabara without rain.
In Akihabara a lot of girls promote the so-called maid-cafes and cosplay-cafes dressed up in the style of the cafe and really belongs to this area. But as soon as you try to make a picture the girls turn around or put something before her face. So Danielle tried to get some girls on the picture without them noticing.
After Akihabara we went to Shinjuku to visit the Shinjuku Gyoen park, this should be a wonderful park to view Cherry Blossoms but the blooming starts very late so we tried to visit the park on the last day. Unfortunately we were not prepared good enough since we arrived at 16:15 and the park closes at 16:30, not letting people in after 16:00. Another reason to come back to Tokyo in a future trip.
From here we went back to Shinagawa to find a place to eat. We wanted to find something special with food we had before during the trip: Yakitori. After looking at the pictures/advertisements of dozens of restaurant we finally found something. We got in an elevator to the 3rd floor of a building and when the door opened we entered a restaurant. And all employees shouted “Irasshaimase” which means something like “Please come in”.
We entered the place and got seated on the bar looking at the cooks preparing the food. Or at least they would be preparing the food as soon as someone ordered. They start with the words “No English”, so far so good! But with one word question we got 2 beer, something made from beef, Yakitori from chicken and pork (don’t ask which parts), black burned chicken and Japanese dumplings. So I would say it worked out perfect in the end. This was the perfect meal to end this vacation with.
After dinner we went back to our hotel so I could write this blog and Danielle packed our suitcases.
When we woke up it had already started to rain, and it would continue to do so till the evening. We decided to visit the fish market today and wanted to be there in the morning.
We started at Shinagawa staton with the JR Keihin -Tohoku Line towards Yurakucho Station. From there we walked towards the Hibiya station wo catch the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line to Tsukiji Station from which it was just a couple of minutes walking towards the seafood wholesale market of the world largest fish market. We’ve never seen so much dead fish in one place. Lot’s of fresh tuna, most probably for sushi…
It was quite funny to walk around there and the most important thing is not to disturb the business which is going on, some people didn’t like tourist taking pictures so we only walked through the area once.
After leaving we took the Toei Subway Oedo Line at the Tsukijishijo Station towards Daimon where we transferred to the Toei Subway Asakusa Line to leave the metro at Shimbashi. In Shimbasi we took a late breakfast/early lunch at the Mr. Donut.
After sitting for a while the rain got worse and we both felt tired which made us decided to go back to the hotel to get some rest. In the late afternoon we went back to Shinagawa Station to make the seat reservations for the Narita Express back to the airport on Saturday. We did this on one of the ticket machines available at the JR East office which went easier as expected. e put in the 2 tickets we got on the day of arrival in Tokyo and we got them back combined with 2 seat reservation tickets.
In the evening we had an appointment together with one of Sanders Japanese colleagues which took us to a typical Japanese restaurant, a place where we would have never entered by ourself. But here we ate a lot of different delicious thing like Codfish eggs (Roe) in baked chicken egg, rice with egg, something with beef and most important THE INSIDE OF CHICKEN WITH TOFU!!! It sounds really interesting but it tasted better!
And with every good meal you need a good drink. Danielle had a Sake with plume wine and a Matscha Sake Cocktail (Green Tea Sake cocktail). Sander went with cold sake, hot sake and something specific for Japan! Everything tasted great and soon it was 2 hours later and time to leave the restaurant. We had a pleasant time!
Tomorrow will be the last day from this amazing trip..and we still have things we’d like to see. Tomorrow we’ll try to visit the zoo and watch Panda’s and Elephants.